Sunday, November 1, 2015

The First Thanksgiving - Lessons and Activities for Elementary School Students

Now that Halloween is behind us, the next big marker in the calendar in the U.S. is Thanksgiving. Over the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing resources for teaching elementary school students about Thanksgiving. The first resource comes from Scholastic.

The First Thanksgiving is a fairly comprehensive set of resources for elementary school students and teachers. The site has five primary sections for students. Those sections are The Mayflower, Daily Life, The Feast, Historical Letters, and Videos and Photos.

  • Daily Life is a comparison of the lifestyles of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag. Students can click through each aspect of daily life to see a comparison of housing, clothing, food, chores, school, and games.
  • The Feast is a slideshow, with audio support, about the foods eaten and other activities at early Thanksgiving dinners. 
  • The Mayflower is a virtual tour of the ship. This section also has an interactive map through which students can learn about life aboard the ship as it crossed the Atlantic Ocean. 
  • Historical Letters is a collection of historical fiction letters written from the perspectives of a Pilgrim girl and a Wampanoag boy living in the New World. In order to access these letters you need to register as a teacher by using your email address.
  • The videos and photos section of The First Thanksgiving offers short videos (some as long as 20 minutes) about life in Plymouth and the first Thanksgiving. 
Applications for Education
Many of the resources in Scholastic's The First Thanksgiving could be used by students without much guidance from you. That said, there is a selection of free lesson plans that incorporate media from The First Thanksgiving website. The lesson plans are designed for elementary school students. 

The Month in Review - October's Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Woodstock, Maine where I've adjusted to the time change, but my dog has not. As my sister is known to say, "toddlers and dogs don't understand time changes." Hopefully, you and your students adjust to the time change quickly. And if you live in a place that doesn't observe Daylight Saving Time, you're lucky.

At the end of every month I take a look at the statistics for the blog and create a list of the most popular posts of the month. This helps me understand the kind of content that I need to create more of. And it can help you catch up on new things you might have missed during the month.

Here are the most popular posts from October, 2015:
1. Write Music in Google Documents
2. Zing! - Thousands of Free eBooks for Students
3. How to Access Thousands of Free eBooks for Kids
4. My 5 Favorite Google Sheets Add-ons & How to Use Them
5. 40+ Alternatives to YouTube
6. How to Create a Word Cloud in Google Documents
7. An Illustrated Mathematics Dictionary
8. Historical Investigations for Students to Complete
9. 9 Google Apps Productivity Tools & Tips for Teachers
10. 10 Resources for Teaching With Primary Sources

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference?
Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
HelloTalk is a mobile community for learning a new language.
MasteryConnect offers a series of apps for identifying standards. 
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
SeeSaw is a great iPad app for creating digital portfolios.
Lesley University offers online education programs for teachers.
PortfolioGen is a professional portfolio tool for teachers.  
Southeastern University offers online M.Ed programs.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers World Headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. It's a beautiful late fall morning here. It's the kind of morning that makes wearing a sweater fun. It's also the kind of morning that reminds us that winter isn't far away and we should take care of any last-minute yard work before the snow flies. That's exactly what I'm going to do right after I write this post.

This week I was home all week preparing for a busy November and December. Next week I'll be at the IETC conference in Illinois. If you're there, please say hello. Later this month I'll be launching a new section of my popular online course Getting Going With GAFE. That course will again offer a graduate credit option and a registration discount will be available to people who are subscribed to the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 9 Google Apps Productivity Tools & Tips for Teachers
2. An Illustrated Mathematics Dictionary
3. Write Music in Google Documents
4. 7 Halloween-themed Educational Activities
5. OpenEd Offers Thousands of Quizzes and Review Materials to Share in Google Classroom
6. 10 Resources for Teaching With Primary Sources
7. An Introduction to Google Forms for Teachers

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference?
Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
HelloTalk is a mobile community for learning a new language.
MasteryConnect offers a series of apps for identifying standards. 
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
SeeSaw is a great iPad app for creating digital portfolios.
Lesley University offers online education programs for teachers.
PortfolioGen is a professional portfolio tool for teachers.  
Southeastern University offers online M.Ed programs.

75 Google Apps Video Tutorials

One of the most popular posts of the past week was my two video introduction to Google Forms for teachers. Those videos are part of my larger, constantly growing, playlist of Google Apps tutorial videos. I now have more than 75 videos in that playlist. All of the videos were created by me using Screencast-o-matic. The entire playlist is embedded below. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here to be notified whenever a new video is added to my channel. Lately, I've been creating two new videos per week.

Hands on Banking - Personal Finance Lessons for Kids

Hands on Banking is a program produced by Wells Fargo. The purpose of the program is to introduce students to the basics of personal finance including saving, budgeting, and credit management. Hands on Banking has a self-directed component for students as well as a teacher-directed component.

The self-directed component of Hands on Banking features an animated tour in which students learn what gives money its value, how to save it in a bank, and the benefits of saving in a bank. The tour then goes on to illustrate budgeting and borrowing concepts. Finally, students can earn a certificate of completion if they pass an assessment at the end of the tour. A glossary of terms and a calculator is provided for students to use throughout the Hands on Banking interactive, animated tour.

Applications for Education
The teacher-directed component of Hands on Banking features a PDF that corresponds to the animated tour. Included in the PDF are a list of key points to emphasize with students, worksheets to correspond with the animations, and activities for classroom practice.